“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)
It is hard to imagine this world without Magi Goro. On Sunday morning, while standing in the pulpit and preaching about the cross, Magi suffered a massive heart attack. At the age of 56, he left this world and entered Heaven. I am still shell-shocked at this devastating news. He has been a good friend and an inspiration to me. I don’t know many people who have had more impact on more lives than this man and his wife, Debbie. As a testimony to the impact he has had, there are 25 babies in PNG named after him and 14 after Debbie! They have tirelessly shepherded communities in their corner of the world for decades.
As a young adult, Magi lived in one of the most dangerous slums of Port Moresby among his Highlands clansmen. They were mean streets where life was cheap and murder common. He was a competitive bodybuilder who was able to hold his own in those streets. He was also a self-trained mechanic who was creative enough to get things running when they were way past their time. It was Titus Luther, the PNG Foursquare National Youth Director, who mentored him in the faith. Magi then joined a ministry called Living Water as a mechanic and drilled hundreds of wells. “Dig a well, plant a church,” he would say. And so, he did.
Magi was a well-driller by trade and a pastor by calling, which he lived out in every expression of his life. He was transformed by Jesus Christ and lived to share that good news with as many people as would lend him an ear. The Goro’s love for the people of PNG poured out of them. He and Debbie encouraged people to be the men and women God created them to be. They shared the gospel, trained drillers, raised pastors, taught work skills, counseled families and released people in the power of the Holy Spirit. They carried a burden for many, many people. Pastor Debbie focused on teaching skills to women that would empower them. Magi visited village after village in order to provide a way to purify the drinking water which had been contaminated by typhoid and other coliforms. Because of the massive dislocation of people who were driven out of Port Moresby into the surrounding bush, typhoid was taking a toll on newborns. But thankfully, there are children alive today who would have been lost to that and other water-borne diseases.
I am reminiscing the many stories he and Debbie told me about family, small village life, the Port Moresby city slums, history, miracles, and their own Jesus stories. I remember sitting on his back porch after a kaikai (Pidgin for feast) when he showed me his grandfather’s handmade arrows, which were actually used for both hunting and battle. His was a story of humble beginnings and God-sized dreams.
Out of Magi’s heart flowed rivers of living water. He will be missed. I miss him already. Please pray for his family and the church in PNG as they grieve over this loss.